Having a positive mindset or attitude doesn’t negate the necessity of negative emotions. As a matter of fact, it’s important to accept your negative emotions. Because life is going to crap in your face sometimes and you need to be able to deal with it in the right way.
Studies show that consistently repressing your negative feelings for long periods of time compromises your immune system.
What you want to do is deal with them constructively so that those “craptastic” times don’t fester and blow up your health in painful ways.
Here’s how to deal with them without punishing yourself (or someone else), your health or your wallet:
- Acknowledge and accept your negative emotions without blowing them out of proportion or jumping to conclusions…especially “worst case scenario” conclusions that many of us are A-listers at.
- Allow yourself to express those emotions in healthy and non-destructive ways (destructive can also mean eating foods you know are going to make you sick…not just punching the wall or lighting his house on fire).
- Don’t judge yourself for having negative emotions. You’re human. It’s a natural part of life.
- Do NOT ruminate on the negative emotions or the cause of your negative emotions.
- Do your best to deal with what’s causing the emotions as opposed to reacting to them.
Once you’ve gotten to the point where you’re ok (or mostly ok) with the negative emotions you’re experiencing, it’s time to balance things out by reframing your reality.
Here’s how you reframe your reality so you can begin to process and shift:
- Change your physiology. It’s been proven that changing the way your holding your body helps change your mood. For example, when you’re sad your shoulders droop, you look down, your body is closed in. Standing up straight, which your shoulders back and closer to your usual posture sends a message to your brain that you are no longer sad.
- Practice self-compassion (not self-pity…self-pity is wallowing in the pain and adding to it by going shopping for shit you don’t need, self-compassion is knowing WHY you want to do that and choosing not to punish your financial health for what’s happened so that you can find the motivation to move forward.
- Spend time in gratitude. Studies show that gratitude reduces the aging of your brain, lowers blood pressure, improves your immune system, and helps you to sleep better.
- Look for every single bit of positive in the situation you can. It doesn’t matter how small it is. Studies show that it takes at least 9 positive experiences to begin to negate one negative. Grouping together all the positive will help you to move toward solutions rather than only focusing on the causes of the negative emotions.That’s why this part is so important.
*What I mean by “grouping together positive experiences* is finding all the positive you can in the current situation, recalling positive memories, changing your physiology, being gratitude and anything else that makes you feel good all at once.*I
Reframing your Reality acknowledges the truth of your current very human experience and provides tools to help you deal with it and grow.
Acknowledging the positive is without ignoring the negative is where the magic happens.
A simple way of acknowledging the positive without ignoring the negative is by using what I call, “even though” statements.
The formula for these are:
Even though (acknowledge negative), I am thankful that/grateful for (insert positive).
Here are a few examples:
Even though I didn’t get the job I wanted, I’m grateful for the joy my dogs show when I come home.
Even though my feelings are hurt, I’m thankful that I walked away rather than fuel the fire.
Even though my kid was really upset, I’m grateful that he was able to see the truth of the situation and not take things personally.
Try a few for yourself and combine them with the tools above.
The more you practice, the better you’ll get at reframing your reality…and that, my beautiful friend…will go a long way towards developing the quality of life you desire.